Our pastors are incredibly important leaders of the church. What they do truly shapes how the congregation will grow, think, and work. They put themselves out there to try and spread the Word of Jesus to anyone that will listen.
However, our pastors don't want to be labeled complainers or weak, so there are some things they just can't or won't tell you. They won't tell you when they are feeling stressed or have doubts, for example. They do this with good intentions, because they want to keep the attention off themselves and on Jesus and the church's needs.
The health of our pastors directly relates to the health of the church, and we as congregations need to be a positive support system to them. If you are part of a local church, this is what your pastor wishes you knew about them, but they're too afraid to tell you.
Your Pastor Wants More Positive Feedback
Pastors don’t always receive feedback when they are doing a good job, but they always get it when they mess up. Pastors aren't always recognized for the incredibly hard work they put into the church. In a study by LifeWay Research, 84 percent of pastors said they’re on call 24 hours a day. Another 48 percent often feel the demands of ministry are more than they can handle.
While the praise from God is great, we all know how good it feels to be recognized by others for the good things you have been doing. Point out something you like about your church to your pastor next Sunday, and enjoy the smile you will get in return. At the end of the day, your pastor needs to be given the benefit of the doubt about his whereabouts and work ethic. Chances are, he's putting in more than you will ever realize.
Pastors Don't Have All the Answers
We sometimes see our church leadership as being the ultimate resource for everything Christianity-related, but we have to remember that they aren't all knowing. Only God is. While pastors work incredibly hard and study Bible theology for years, they won't be able to answer everything.
Furthermore, your pastor won't know how to fix all your problems. They can provide you great support, and offer ideas on solutions, but at the end of the day they won't be able to magically fix up your messed up family, finances, or the like. We need to stop looking at our church leaders as Jesus, and rather just one of God's helpful messengers.
Their Families Pay a Price
Just like military families, the families of pastors are required to pay some sacrifices for the job. They often move frequently to new cities they've never heard of because the church has asked them to. Its part of the calling, but it's important to be supportive of the families as they transition into their new homes. Children, wives and husbands leave behind friendships, schools, and the like. This is a big change for most.
Pastors Will Make Mistakes
At the end of the day, pastors are human too. They, again, are not God or God-figure. Our pastors are just like us. They watch sports, go to the movie theaters, and have life goals, fears and insecurities. Every pastor encounters the normal ups and downs that life throws at us. They go through many of the same difficulties we all go through. They struggle with sin, and make mistakes like all of us. While we do hold them to a higher standard, as a church we should be a bit more understanding if minor things go array.
Church Finances Stress Them Out
Pastors don't like talking about money any more than you, and probably like it even less. Pastors want to focus on the Word of Jesus, but we live in a world where money is incredibly vital. Money can help others and accomplish great things for the church. Pastors don't want to always be asking the congregation for money, but understand it's for something much larger than themselves.
They Want Your Prayers
One way to really support your church pastors are to pray for them. There are challenging days for the church and days when they could use some more help. Prayers are welcomed by pastors, and they will always be praying for their congregation.
Pastors Struggle Too
Pastors are not immune to feeling a little lost and out of sync. The way you feel on Monday mornings about going to work? They feel that too sometimes. They may look the part on Sunday morning by sounding all preachy and authoritative behind pulpit, but there are days when they aren't feeling at their best. They even wonder if God is in their corner some days. Doubt is not selective of which Christians it interferes with.
Your pastor is just another person that so happen to leads the church. Care for them, enjoy them while they are around, show your support and be patient. They are very much like you, in need of grace and love.